There’s something that I’m tired of. I think you’re probably tired of it, too.
So, I decided to reach out to you, to collect your thoughts, experiences, and feedback on this problem.
On the latest episode of The Customer Experience Podcast I walked through this issue, what I found out, and what we can learn to truly create the best customer experiences going forward. But I wanted to share the highlights with you here, too.
So, here’s how it went …
First, I published this LinkedIn status:
The post’s text: “Honest question: When you accept a LinkedIn connection request and the person immediately hits you up with an unsolicited and irrelevant sales pitch in a direct message, what do you do?”
Then, people started engaging with it. This is obviously a hot topic (at least by my typical engagment levels on LinkedIn).
- 16,000+ views (and counting)
- 130+ comments (and counting)
- 40+ reactions (and counting)
Finally, I categorized and tallied the comments and turned them into some quick takeaways.
Here in this post, hear what I had to say about what you had to say about prospecting with LinkedIn connection requests and LinkedIn Messaging!
How NOT to Use LinkedIn Messaging for Prospecting
Listen to any or every episode of The Customer Experience Podcast by subscribing to the show in your preferred podcast player …
You’ll also find each episode embedded in its companion blog post, just like this …
What You Said About Prospecting on LinkedIn
I soft scored all of your comments. I read every one of them, created several categories based on the types of responses, then tallied responses by category.
- Engage with the message (positive)
- Engage with the message (neutral)
- Engage with the message (negative)
- Ignore the message
- Delete or archive the message
- Disconnect or mute the person
- Mark the message as spam and/or block the person
The First 51%
The number one response? “I immediately disconnect from the person. I kill the connection I just accepted.”
That answer made up 27.6% of the responses.
Then, 23.7% of people said they simply ignore the message. This has generally been my approach – the path of least resistance and effort.
Here we are already at more than 50% of people ignoring the message or, worse, ignoring the message and actively disconnecting from the sender.
3 Types of Engagement
However, some people do choose to engage.
So, I scored the engagements as positive, neutral, or negative.
If they were to engage, people were equally likely to engage in a positive way or a negative way – about 8% of each.
A positive response might look like this: “Thanks for reaching out, I’d like to learn more.”
And negative engagement might look like this: “Who do you think you are?” or “Do you actually get business this way?”
17.1% engaged in a neutral way with a “Thanks, but no thanks” type of response.
10.5% of people deleted or archived the message.
Don’t Make Me Angry
Finally, the most aggressive approach was to block the person and report the message as spam. 5.3% of responses fit these criteria.
Think about this: blocking the person and reporting the message require effort. I’m not exactly sure how to do either. But your connection request and pitch message so negatively affect some people that they figure it out and take the extra steps.
This may not be the best way to prospect on LinkedIn (read on for some tips and recommendations to do it better).
See for Yourself
If you’re interested in this topic, go look at the post. Read the actual comments verbatim. See the details and specifics. And add your own comment while you’re there!
6 Lessons We Can Learn About LinkedIn Prospecting
There are many things we can learn here from our peers, colleagues, and connections on LinkedIn about how best to engage people in a respectful and effective way. Here are six of them …
1: People can spot these messages from a mile away.
So, if you’re using this type of communication for any reason, just know that the person you’re messaging will probably be on their guard.
And you’re sending these types of messages because you have an actual, valuable message to share, make sure it doesn’t look or smell like all the other messages.
2: These messages are generally not welcome.
People are more likely to ignore or disconnect from you than they are to engage with you, even in a neutral way.
So, this probably isn’t the best way to reach out to prospects.
But if you’re still going to send these messages, think about engaging with the person on their posts, first. Demonstrate some basic level of connection before showing up in their messages, especially if you have a direct sales pitch to share.
3: While you may get some engagement, it’s more than twice as likely to be neutral as it is to be positive or negative.
4: And … you’re equally likely to get a positive response as you are to get a negative response.
5: But … some people do read and evaluate that message.
Just because people aren’t replying doesn’t mean they aren’t reading your message.
So, if you can offer people what they’re looking for, you up your chances of getting them to respond to your message in a positive way, instead of just ignoring it.
And what people are looking for is personalization.
They want you to know who they are. Who they work for. And not just in a “slug my name in” kind of way. They want you to identify specific pain points or problems that they might have – and have an actual solution that can specifically address these things.
If you can communicate this through your message, you’ve got a much better shot at positive engagement.
One of the BEST ways to personalize: by sending a simple, personal video.
- Put a face with your name
- Greet the person by name
- Speak specifically about why you reached out
- Ask a question to create a conversation
- Treat them like a proper human, not as a “prospect”
6: There’s a clear escalation trend.
Some people said, “Initially, I’ll read the message. Then, I will ignore it. And if they persist, I’ll disconnect or mark it as spam.”
So, the more you persist with something that is not responded to in a favorable way, the more likely you are to make someone angry or get an escalated level of response.
Here’s the bottom line …
What good is hitting or exceeding your “activity” quota if it’s not breaking through, not connecting, and not producing conversation?
Activities are simply means to ends. Do not overvalue the means, especially while they might be making the ends more distant.
LinkedIn Prospecting and The Customer Experience
Creating and delivering a better customer experience is the single most important thing that you can do today. It’s the single most important differentiator for you and your business. And it’s comprised of every single touch point along the buyer’s journey.
So, when you think about the sales people in your organization and the touches they’re making — potentially with connection requests and direct messaging on LinkedIn — think about the tone these touches set as probably one of the first interactions a potential customer is having with your business.
These touchpoints are a crucial part of the customer experience.
As such, they have a slightly outsized impact on the reputation of you and your company and on the expectations you’re setting for your customers about who you are, what you’re about, and how you operate.
So, whether you’re using LinkedIn or some other means of prospecting, go forward thoughtfully.
Just because others are doing something doesn’t mean you should do it.
And just because a lot of people don’t like it, doesn’t mean that it can’t be done successfully.
Ultimately, your goal is to reach out, understand people, let them know that you see, hear, and understand them, and work to create a real relationship with them based around a real problem and a real opportunity.
Because that’s how you create a fantastic customer experience.
Keep up with The Customer Experience Podcast.
If you’re up for it, PLEASE leave a rating or review – it’s easy to do and very helpful. Really!
Subscribe and hear past episodes:
- “Sales Strategy Mistakes and How to Fix Them” with Jeremy Donovan (SalesLoft)
- “4 Things Every Customer Wishes You Understood About Them” with Mike Redbord (HubSpot)
- “Showing Up Authentically To Honor Your Customer Promise” with Paula Hayes (Hue Noir)
Subscribe and hear upcoming guests:
- VPs of Field Operations at Dutch Bros Coffee Lance Risser and Levi Ayriss
- HubSpot sales executive and co-author of Inbound Organization Dan Tyre
- Cofounder and Chief Evangelist at Terminus Sangram Vajre
How To Successfully Send Videos in Social Messaging
One of the best ways to get replies and responses in LinkedIn Messaging is by adding a video. By showing up in a more personal and human way, you allow yourself to be seen, heard, and understood. More importantly, when you do it in a one-to-one video, you let the other person know that you see, hear, and understand them!
And it’s easy if you know how to do it.
We literally wrote the book on personal video for sales and prospecting – and it’s an Amazon #1 bestseller in Business Sales, Business Communication, and Customer Relations, the Porchlight Books #1 bestseller in its opening month of release, and a Barnes & Noble besteseller in its opening week of release.
It’s got examples, case studies, and proven tips to help you implement video the right way in emails, text messages, and social messages. We have specific tips and examples of using videos with LinkedIn to build relationships and increase sales.
Click here to visit BombBomb.com/Book to learn more and order one or more copies right now!